The autumn rugby internationals continue to provide somewhat depressing food for thought ahead on next year’s British Lions tour of South Africa.
All three of the big Southern Hemisphere teams managed to post victories over the Home Nations, with only the Springboks looking in any way vulnerable. Even here, the second half comeback that saw them post 14 points without reply emphasises how difficult it will be in South Africa next year – there are few teams in any sport which are as dangerous as the Springboks when their backs are against the wall.
England enjoyed good possession against the Aussies, but ultimately gave away far too many penalties and lacked the true attacking flair to turn possession into points. The English scrum also looked unconvincing against Austrailia, and this is an area that the South Africans will be looking to exploit next week.
It appears the next week’s England v South Africa game will be the only realistic chance of the Home Nations getting a victory against any of the Southern Hemisphere teams – I cannot see the All Blacks or Aussie slipping up in any of their remaining games, although Wales will be keen to push them all the way.
Match reports and opinion on the BBC Sport web site.